Australia announces Its Regional Migration Agreements

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Australia May 16, 2011 – An increase in the number of skilled migrants is to be allowed to Australia has been announced by Chris Bowen, the Minister for Australian Immigration and Citizenship.

Mr. Bowen further revealed that there will also be reforms made with the Skilled Migration Program in order to make it more efficient and effective in sourcing highly skilled migrants for Regional Australia.

Mr. Bowen said, ‘It is critical that Australia’s skilled migration program is driven by Australia’s skills needs, rather than the desires of prospective migrants.’

The department’s reforms net migration levels have declined from 315,000 in 2008 to 180,000 for the year 2011-12, even though the migration numbers this year increased.

The highest priority for processing will be granted to Regional visas with 160,000 places allocated to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

Mr. Bowen stated that for the first time, the Federal Government will specifically allocate immigration to Australia permanent visas for regional areas.

Permanent residency for those who have been in regional Australia using the temporary business visa (subclass 457) and for those whose employers will sponsor them for a further two years has been planned by the government to be fast-tracked.

Mr. Bowen explained, ‘This government recognizes that different regions face different opportunities and pressures. The patchwork nature of the Australian labor market means it’s important to recognize unique local circumstances and tailor migration solutions accordingly.’

A coordinated, localized response to labor needs, aiding local areas to implement workforce strategies that support growth while ensuring local workers remain the first choice for employers and industry will be offered by the Regional Migration Agreements.

The final piece in Mr. Bowen’s series of reforms is the new Migration Plan model which will take into effect on July 1st 2012, which sees Australian migration more focused and efficient through State Migration Plans and now the Regional Migration Agreements.

Mr. Bowen said, ‘Under this model, the government will be able to select migrants like a business manages its workforce – selecting the best candidates, altering the skill composition of its workforce, and speeding up or slowing down recruitment as circumstances change.’


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